Friday, September 28, 2007

A Baby Boomer Dreams of Arabian Horses - The Maiden Season

Part 1 of the Baby Boomer Series

I wasn't really looking forward to breeding season although I was looking forward to the foals the following year. Just the thought of teaching a maiden stallion how to breed was enough to make me nervous. As springtime approached I found myself with lots of reasons to put off even thinking about breeding.

Sometime in April I finally contacted the breeder in Oregon about making arrangements to lease the Dare Malik daughter for the breeding season and the following year for foaling. I also made arrangements to have that mare transported to my farm.

During that same time frame, I got a call from my friend, Jodee. Her Gamaar bred mare, Kurra, was looking like she was beginning to come into heat and Jodee would bring her up on the weekend. While I was excited at the prospect of breeding this mare, in no way was I looking forward to the process.

I had already made arrangements with the vet and his wife (who has a masters degree in equine reproduction) to come and help us with the first couple of covers. I had never even seen a maiden stallion breed nor had I handled any stallion for in hand breeding. My job had always been the mares. I was not looking forward to this new role

Lady of Chaos in yesterday's comments
made a reference about confidence and breeding with her inexperienced stallion this year. Let me say right here at the start, I was never worried about Legs's confidence. The horse was mounting mares before he was weaned. I knew he would not be intimidated by a mare in heat. I was far more worried about the colt's enthusiasm. I expected him to be quite literally rearing to go. Controlling him was my biggest nightmare.

I knew how the first few covers for a maiden stallion are handled, will affect them for life. Allowing a young stallion to be pushy and aggressive can make for a lifetime of dangerous breeding. While the way the young horse is corrected for transgressions (because there will be transgressions!) can halt a young stallion's breeding career in its tracks.

I knew from the start that it was going to be really important for me to control the young horse's behavior without injuring his confidence. Even the most confident young colt can have his confidence squashed by an overly aggressive handler. Yet, I had no previous history or training to rely on. I had no idea what to expect. I was really feeling like a duck out of water as we embarked on this new chapter in our breeding careers.

Saturday came and so did the mare.... and the vet... and his wife. We got the mare washed. The stallion washed. Those things I knew how to do. It was a piece of cake. We teased the mare with Legs in his stall where he could reach over the top of the wall. When he dropped, I washed. Piece of cake, except when he tried to kick at my hand. But that was easy enough to handle too.

Once both horses were all cleaned up, the mare's tail wrapped it was time to do the deed. I was feeling sick to my stomach. Even though I knew I had to do this, I really didn't want to. The noise in my head was deafening as my inner voices expressed every form of fear you can imagine, getting myself killed seemed to be the biggest concern.

Fortunately, I have worked with Legs religiously since he was born. I was pretty sure the young colt wouldn't try to kill me to get to a mare. I'd been pushing him off mares since he first started jumping them.

I was much more concerned that I might make a mistake and he might get away with something that would affect future breedings or he might get loose. There were dozens of scenarios that played in my head. None of them were comforting.

But when the vet asked if I wanted to handle Legs or let them do it, I stepped right up and took the lead. What what I thinking?? Well, I can tell you that! I was thinking I couldn't afford to have the vet out every time I needed to breed a mare. I was never going to learn if I didn't just do it. I was thinking.......I was thinking.........I was........."Geez, MiKael, just get it over with!"

To be continued..........

Part 2


  1. Good for you! He's your baby and you know you can do it.
    Those running comments that go through our minds? Always negative. Always much worse than what does happen. (Except for the time I did get a flat tire on the way to the airport.)

  2. wow youve come a long way since i was here last! its been impressive reading. a cooworker of mine has a few horses, just for riding, and i have learned from her how much work and expense is invovlved.
    as for cats not feeling the need to fit in, that is so right! i think they expect the world to fit in with them. i have learned much about confidence from my cats. :)

  3. Wow!! Can't wait to read the next entry! Hope things went well...sitting on the edge of my seat here!!

  4. another cliff hanger! Love it!

    I'm sure that you will be writing next about how well it went and how relieved you were.

    As for stallions being ruined by breeding....pffftttt!

    I don't have stallions and don't breed horses, but I do have 3 intact male dogs in my house, 2 of which have breeding exprience. And I have 2 intact girls. Both boys (and the young dog too), are polite, well mannered and extremely handle-able around girls and boys. Do they know when a girl is ready? You bet, but they also know to wait. Based on absolutely NO personal experience, those stallions that can't get their brains back in their skulls after breeding are very likely not ever allowed to be just horses. It's probably as a steep learning curve for young stallions as it is for young dogs and if you have a mare who can nicely 'splain to him when it's okay and when it isn't, to go ALONG WITH the training you give him, he'll get it as fast as my dogs have.

    Waiting for the next installment.....taptaptap goes the foot!

  5. cliff hanger for sure!

    I am waiting to hear more!

    those youngsters are funny to watch.

  6. Isn't it funny how sometimes we just automatically do something we didn't think we could? I really appreciate all the insight into how a breeding farm works!

  7. I think I'd be just as worried, if I were you. Cause horses are large animals. Let me tell ya, it's probably a whole lot easier breeding goats. Number 1, goats weight varies from 30 lbs, to 300 lbs. And number 2, goats cant kick like horses, and number 3, male goats don't have brains or confident issues, they just do it without thought. And, female goats don't spray, but male goats do, it's really a stinky smell, but the female goats love it. You know whats kind of neat to think, is that, this one lady had a Nigerian Dwarf, and she had 5 babies, and horses are MUCH larger, and only have 1 or 2 babies. If you want to see what nigerian dwarf goats look like, go to google images, and type in "nigerian dwarf goats" YOU GUYS WILL LOVE THE VERY FIRST PICTURE!!! SO TINY AND ADORABLE BABY!!! :)
    and they come in absolutely any and every color.